Sunday History Photo / WA

Submitted: Sunday, Mar 06, 2016 at 04:09
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Broad Arrow is a ghost town in Western Australia, located 38 km north of Kalgoorlie and 633 km east of Perth, Western Australia. It is on the Kalgoorlie to Leonora Road, Initially called Kurawah, gold was first discovered there in 1893 which triggered a gold rush in the region north of Kalgoorlie. The Broad Arrow Goldfield was gazetted on 11 November 1896, and in 1897 the municipality of Kurawah was declared.

The town derives its name from the markers, in the shape of a broad arrow, left on the ground by a miner, Reison, who left them to direct his friends who were following him to a gold discovery he had made. His mine was also named Broad Arrow.
Extensions to the Eastern Goldfields Railway line from Kalgoorlie to Menzies was begun in August 1897, and reached Broad Arrow on 6 November the same year. The railway station included a 350 ft platform.
At its peak the town had 15,000 residents, eight hotels and two breweries as well as a stock exchange. Other facilities included a hospital, three churches, Salvation Army Hall, a chemist, two banks, police station with resident magistrate, a mining registrar, a post office, a cordial factory, six grocery stores and two draperies, and blacksmith and bakers' shops. The town was the administrative centre for smaller settlements in the area including Ora Banda, Smithfield, Black Flat, White Flag and Grant's Patch.

A 10,000,000 imp gal dam was built for the Public Works Department in Broad Arrow in 1897.
The population of the town was 337 (218 males and 119 females) in 1898
This rush of population resulted in eight hotels, (most were little more than tents and shanties), two banks, a cordial factory, two breweries, a hospital with a special fever ward, a stock exchange, a resident magistrate, a number of blacksmiths and even a Dramatic Society. By 1901 the population had dropped to 542 and by 1911 there were only 280 in the town. By the mid-1920s the rush was over. The miners moved on to other goldfields or returned to Kalgoorlie. Slowly the town, which had only lasted for 25 years, disappeared. This is the nature of gold mining towns.
By the 1920s the gold had run out and the town had been abandoned.
The movie Nickel Queen was filmed there in 1971, using the town's remaining hotel, the Broad Arrow Tavern.

Nickel Queen was an Australian comedy film released in 1971 starring Googie Withers and directed by her husband John McCallum. The story was loosely based on the Poseidon bubble, a nickel boom in Western Australia in the late 1960s, and tells of an outback pub owner who stakes a claim and finds herself an overnight millionaire

The Tavern remains open for travellers today and is noted for having almost every wall covered with handwritten notes from past visitors. In recent years the area has had renewed life with mining companies re-establishing operations, like the Paddington Gold Mine.
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Reply By: Member - Alan H (QLD) - Sunday, Mar 06, 2016 at 08:26

Sunday, Mar 06, 2016 at 08:26
Thanks Doug

I still find it amazing how many towns with considerable populations were around in years gone by.

The inland of Australia must be very depopulated today compared to 1900

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Reply By: mike39 - Sunday, Mar 06, 2016 at 08:41

Sunday, Mar 06, 2016 at 08:41
These days, whilst the pub retains much of its original character there is an attractive "beer garden" on the southern side.
On a Sat./Sun. it is pretty much chockas with locals from Kalgoorlie dining on the top quality food which the pub is now famous for.
Thanks for those old pics, the WA goldfields are renowned for their interesting old pubs.
Sadly, in more remote locations many are in serious economic decline.
AnswerID: 597054

Reply By: Phil B (WA) - Sunday, Mar 06, 2016 at 09:41

Sunday, Mar 06, 2016 at 09:41
Thanks Doug - as always a great read.

For those who area aware the word T'Othersiders used as the name of a shop in one of the photos refers to everyone coming to WA from the east.


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Reply By: B1B2 - Monday, Mar 07, 2016 at 09:54

Monday, Mar 07, 2016 at 09:54
G'day Doug,
We drove right past Broad Arrow last year, I would have had a look. You did make me check out the movie Nickel Queen and it is available on youtube, A bit of a laugh watching John Laws as a Hippy .
Quality is bad but it was ok. Poseidon was a big deal those days.


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Reply By: Ron N - Wednesday, Mar 09, 2016 at 12:47

Wednesday, Mar 09, 2016 at 12:47
It's amazing how rapidly things change in the Goldfields towns. When I first moved into the Goldfields in the early 1970's, Broad Arrow was completely abandoned, and all the buildings, including the pub, were derelict.

The gold price was at an all-time low, and people were abandoning Kalgoorlie and the Goldfields for opportunities elsewhere.
The only thing keeping the region going, was nickel exploration.

The main first impression of Kalgoorlie back then, was rows and rows of rusty corrugated iron fences - the fencing mostly having been supplied by theft from the mines! - and you could buy any timber frame house in Kalgoorlie for $500 - and any brick and tile house for $1500!

How times change!

Cheers, Ron.
AnswerID: 597181

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